Splunk to Azure Monitor log query

This article is intended to assist users who are familiar with Splunk to learn the Kusto query language to write log queries in Azure Monitor. Direct comparisons are made between the two to understand key differences and also similarities where you can leverage your existing knowledge.

Structure and concepts

The following table compares concepts and data structures between Splunk and Azure Monitor logs.

Concept Splunk Azure Monitor Comment
Deployment unit cluster cluster Azure Monitor allows arbitrary cross cluster queries. Splunk does not.
Data caches buckets Caching and retention policies Controls the period and caching level for the data. This setting directly impacts the performance of queries and cost of the deployment.
Logical partition of data index database Allows logical separation of the data. Both implementations allow unions and joining across these partitions.
Structured event metadata N/A table Splunk does not have the concept exposed to the search language of event metadata. Azure Monitor logs has the concept of a table, which has columns. Each event instance is mapped to a row.
Data record event row Terminology change only.
Data record attribute field column In Azure Monitor, this is predefined as part of the table structure. In Splunk, each event has its own set of fields.
Types datatype datatype Azure Monitor datatypes are more explicit as they are set on the columns. Both have the ability to work dynamically with data types and roughly equivalent set of datatypes including JSON support.
Query and search search query Concepts are essentially the same between both Azure Monitor and Splunk.
Event ingestion time System Time ingestion_time() In Splunk, each event gets a system timestamp of the time that the event was indexed. In Azure Monitor, you can define a policy called ingestion_time that exposes a system column that can be referenced through the ingestion_time() function.


The following table specifies functions in Azure Monitor that are equivalent to Splunk functions.

Splunk Azure Monitor Comment
strcat strcat() (1)
split split() (1)
if iff() (1)
tonumber todouble()
replace replace() (1)
Also note that while replace() takes three parameters in both products, the parameters are different.
substr substring() (1)
Also note that Splunk uses one-based indices. Azure Monitor notes zero-based indices.
tolower tolower() (1)
toupper toupper() (1)
match matches regex (2)
regex matches regex In Splunk, regex is an operator. In Azure Monitor, it's a relational operator.
searchmatch == In Splunk, searchmatch allows searching for the exact string.
random rand()
Splunk's function returns a number from zero to 231-1. Azure Monitor' returns a number between 0.0 and 1.0, or if a parameter provided, between 0 and n-1.
now now() (1)
relative_time totimespan() (1)
In Azure Monitor, Splunk's equivalent of relative_time(datetimeVal, offsetVal) is datetimeVal + totimespan(offsetVal).
For example, search | eval n=relative_time(now(), "-1d@d") becomes ... | extend myTime = now() - totimespan("1d").

(1) In Splunk, the function is invoked with the eval operator. In Azure Monitor, it is used as part of extend or project.
(2) In Splunk, the function is invoked with the eval operator. In Azure Monitor, it can be used with the where operator.


The following sections give examples of using different operators between Splunk and Azure Monitor.


For the purpose of the following example, the Splunk field rule maps to a table in Azure Monitor, and Splunk's default timestamp maps to the Logs Analytics ingestion_time() column.

In Splunk, you can omit the search keyword and specify an unquoted string. In Azure Monitor you must start each query with find, an unquoted string is a column name, and the lookup value must be a quoted string.

Operator Example
Splunk search search Session.Id="c8894ffd-e684-43c9-9125-42adc25cd3fc" earliest=-24h
Azure Monitor find find Session.Id=="c8894ffd-e684-43c9-9125-42adc25cd3fc" and ingestion_time()> ago(24h)


Azure Monitor log queries start from a tabular result set where the filter. In Splunk, filtering is the default operation on the current index. You can also use where operator in Splunk, but it is not recommended.

Operator Example
Splunk search Event.Rule="330009.2" Session.Id="c8894ffd-e684-43c9-9125-42adc25cd3fc" _indextime>-24h
Azure Monitor where Office_Hub_OHubBGTaskError
| where Session_Id == "c8894ffd-e684-43c9-9125-42adc25cd3fc" and ingestion_time() > ago(24h)

Getting n events/rows for inspection

Azure Monitor log queries also support take as an alias to limit. In Splunk, if the results are ordered, head will return the first n results. In Azure Monitor, limit is not ordered but returns the first n rows that are found.

Operator Example
Splunk head Event.Rule=330009.2
| head 100
Azure Monitor limit Office_Hub_OHubBGTaskError
| limit 100

Getting the first n events/rows ordered by a field/column

For bottom results, in Splunk you use tail. In Azure Monitor you can specify the ordering direction with asc.

Operator Example
Splunk head Event.Rule="330009.2"
| sort Event.Sequence
| head 20
Azure Monitor top Office_Hub_OHubBGTaskError
| top 20 by Event_Sequence

Extending the result set with new fields/columns

Splunk also has an eval function, which is not to be comparable with the eval operator. Both the eval operator in Splunk and the extend operator in Azure Monitor only support scalar functions and arithmetic operators.

Operator Example
Splunk eval Event.Rule=330009.2
| eval state= if(Data.Exception = "0", "success", "error")
Azure Monitor extend Office_Hub_OHubBGTaskError
| extend state = iif(Data_Exception == 0,"success" ,"error")


Azure Monitor uses the project-rename operator to rename a field. project-rename allows the query to take advantage of any indexes pre-built for a field. Splunk has a rename operator to do the same.

Operator Example
Splunk rename Event.Rule=330009.2
| rename Date.Exception as execption
Azure Monitor project-rename Office_Hub_OHubBGTaskError
| project-rename exception = Date_Exception

Format results/Projection

Splunk does not seem to have an operator similar to project-away. You can use the UI to filter away fields.

Operator Example
Splunk table Event.Rule=330009.2
| table rule, state
Azure Monitor project
| project exception, state


See the Aggregations in Azure Monitor log queries for the different aggregation functions.

Operator Example
Splunk stats search (Rule=120502.*)
| stats count by OSEnv, Audience
Azure Monitor summarize Office_Hub_OHubBGTaskError
| summarize count() by App_Platform, Release_Audience


Join in Splunk has significant limitations. The subquery has a limit of 10000 results (set in the deployment configuration file), and there a limited number of join flavors.

Operator Example
Splunk join Event.Rule=120103* | stats by Client.Id, Data.Alias | join Client.Id max=0 [search earliest=-24h Event.Rule="150310.0" Data.Hresult=-2147221040]
Azure Monitor join cluster("OAriaPPT").database("Office PowerPoint").Office_PowerPoint_PPT_Exceptions
| where Data_Hresult== -2147221040
| join kind = inner (Office_System_SystemHealthMetadata
| summarize by Client_Id, Data_Alias)on Client_Id


In Splunk, to sort in ascending order you must use the reverse operator. Azure Monitor also supports defining where to put nulls, at the beginning or at the end.

Operator Example
Splunk sort Event.Rule=120103
| sort Data.Hresult
| reverse
Azure Monitor order by Office_Hub_OHubBGTaskError
| order by Data_Hresult, desc

Multivalue expand

This is a similar operator in both Splunk and Azure Monitor.

Operator Example
Splunk mvexpand mvexpand foo
Azure Monitor mvexpand mvexpand foo

Results facets, interesting fields

In Log Analytics in the Azure portal, only the first column is exposed. All columns are available through the API.

Operator Example
Splunk fields Event.Rule=330009.2
| fields App.Version, App.Platform
Azure Monitor facets Office_Excel_BI_PivotTableCreate
| facet by App_Branch, App_Version


You can use summarize arg_min() instead to reverse the order of which record gets chosen.

Operator Example
Splunk dedup Event.Rule=330009.2
| dedup device_id sortby -batterylife
Azure Monitor summarize arg_max() Office_Excel_BI_PivotTableCreate
| summarize arg_max(batterylife, *) by device_id

Next steps